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The Return of Marco Polo to Persia^ A.D. 1294.
Arghun had despatched an embassy to Khubilay to ask
for the hand of a Princess of the Royal House, and in
A.D. 1292 Marco Polo was entrusted with the perilous
duty of escorting the lady Kokachin cc moult bele dame et
avenant" from China to Persia. Khubilay, upon dis-
missing the Venetian, gave him " two golden Tablets of
Authority. He charged him also with messages to the
King of France, the King of England, the King of Spain,
and the other Kings of Christendom."
The land route being rejected as too fatiguing, the
intrepid Venetian sailed from China with a well-equipped
squadron of thirteen ships and a large retinue ; but
during the two years which the voyage occupied almost
every one died, " so that only eight survived." Upon
reaching Hormuz, in A.D. 1294, Marco heard of the death
of Arghun-, and, having reported his arrival to Gaykhatu,
was instructed to take the Princess to Ghazan Khan, who
was at this time in Kuhistan. It is therefore probable
that he followed the same route as he originally took
from Hormuz to Tun, and from the camp of Ghazan to
Tabriz he presumably followed the trunk route which
skirts the Elburz. At the capital he was treated with
great distinction ; and his epoch-making journey, or
series of journeys, was brought to a happy conclusion
in A.D. 1295 or the following year, when, after an absence
of a quarter of a century, the way-weary Venetian reached
his home.